BIRTHDAY: September 14 GREW UP IN: southern California APPEARANCES:August 1965
MILLIE HAMM is a professional dancer who appeared on all four episodes ofHOLLYWOOD A GO-GO that were originally broadcast in August 1965. The episodes were #33, 34, 35, and 36. She had been on this website's "mystery dancers" page from 2009 up until September 2014 when she wrote in to identify herself as the dancer we had dubbed "Poni-Tail". In spite of her short tenure on the show we have decided to include her on the main menu because of the interest expressed by readers in her over the past five years, the wealth of information and photos she has supplied, and her stunning looks and dancing prowess.
MILLIE started her dance training at a very young age and by the time she was sixteen she was performing in holiday variety shows at Pacific Ocean Park in Santa Monica. In August 1963 she worked in a Broadway-bound show titled "Zenda" with Chita Rivera. "Zenda" played in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and was then abruptly cancelled before its scheduled November premier in Manhattan. During her career she also worked with Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Michael Landon, Lorne Greene, Dorsey Burnett, and Rosemary Clooney.
The years 1964 and 1965 saw her as a regular on USO tours entertaining our troops around the world. We have photos of her below from Alaska in 1964 and from Vietnam in February 1965.
In 1965 she was working in a go-go variety show, called The Whing Ding Show, at Ciro's on Sunset Strip when she was approached by AL BURTON about dancing on HOLLYWOOD A GO-GO. Because she had previously signed a contract to perform another USO tour starting in New York City, and headed to Europe with an early September start date, she only worked as a GAZZARRI DANCERfor the four episodes taped in August. She was onboard the show for many notable GAZZARRI performances such as Del Shannon's "Runaway" and the trio of songs performed by Bo Diddley. You can watch her in many of the performances from episodes # 33 - 36 on our video links pages.
MILLIE is also quite well known for her six Scopitone video performances. In fact it was a sharp eyed follower of this website who first clued us in that the dancer we called "Poni-Tail" and a particular Scopitone dancer were one and the same. MILLIEknew Scopitone producer Hal Belfer and he would call her when he thought she would be a good fit for a video. All six Scopitone links can be found below.
MILLIEretired from the dancing world in her late 20s to raise a family. She still resides in southern California and is devoted to her children, grandchildren, and her many pets.
The ad shown below for Ciro's nightclub was taken from the April 20, 1965 edition of The Valley News (Van Nuys, CA). MILLIEhad been back from a Far East USO tour for only a short time and the next stop on her resume was as a member of the Whing-Ding Dancers (think go-go) who performed at Ciro's on Sunset Strip. This is where HOLLYWOOD A GO-GO producer AL BURTONdiscovered her.
AL, RIC EYRICH (Director), or one of their scouts would scour the local L.A. clubs, such as Gazzarri's, Ciro's, The Trip, Whiskey a Go-Go, looking for the prettiest and best dancers.
AL himself described how he located his dancers in a 2002 interview: "Norman (Lear) came to me in 1966. He asked to have lunch with me. His opening question was, 'Where do you get the girls for HOLLYWOOD A GO-GO?' I said that I got them from Gazzarri's. Gazzarri's had the best looking girls. When they are not on the floor dancing, I, or one of my associates pick them and ask them if they want to come on the show."
MILLIEappeared in a total of six mid-1960s music videos. These videos were called Scopitones and they were really the first music videos produced. They pre-date MTV by two decades. You can see her dancing in the following Scopitones.
April Stevens & Nino Tempo - "Land of 1,000 Dances"
The two photos shown below are from the April Stevens & Nino Tempo "Land of 1,000 Dances" Scopitone video. This was filmed in May-June 1966.
MILLIEwas originally trained in ballet dancing. The photo below dates from 1963 or 1964.
The photo below dates from around 1962 and was part of a modeling assignment for a camera magazine.
MILLIE'S USO tour 1964 (Part I)
In 1964MILLIE had signed up to perform as a dancer for a USO tour to entertain our troops The tour started on November 1, 1964. First stop on the tour was Alaska. This segment of the tour lasted until December 23. Fortuitously we have photographs from a show on the tour that also featured Virginia Capers. Perhaps no longer a household name, Virginia appeared in 30 films from 1962 through 1999. She also won a Tony Award for Best Actress in 1974. Virginia was MILLIE'S roommate in Alaska, and at 39 years old at the time almost twice Millie's age. The first two photos below feature MILLIEdancing, and in the third photo we see Virginia Capers singing. The gentleman on stage with Virginia is Dave La Kay(Laquet), a Seattle based singer and magician who was also the manager of the tour.
MILLIE'S USO tour 1965 (Part II)
From Alaska the tour headed trans Pacific with Asia being the destination. This part of the tour lasted from December 24, 1964 through March 15, 1965. Christmas Day 1964 was spent at a base on Iwo Jima. From there it was on to entertain our servicemen stationed at bases in Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan, the Phillipines, and eventually at makeshift venues in actual war zones in Vietnam and Laos (with the Viet Cong taking it all in from a distance at times). There was also a stop in Hawaii on the trip home in March. After returning from this tour MILLIE'Snext stop was the dancing job at Ciro's which is where she was noticed and hired as a GAZZARRI DANCER. Unfortunately for TV viewers this gig only lasted for four episodes, and was cut short by another USO tour, this time going to Europe.
The first photo below is from a February 1965 show in a field near the Laos and Cambodian border. The second photo was taken in front of an Aussie Caribou plane with the crew, and MILLIE pretty in pink, center. This plane and crew often transported the tour members throughout the active war zones. The MILLIEin sunglasses photo was taken inside that plane. And lastly is a photo dated December 26, 1964 at our base on Iwo Jima.
The following four photos were taken in 1969 and 1970 for MILLIE'Smodeling portfolio.
The lovely photo of MILLIE shown below was taken in August 2014.